People keep acting like I'm mad when I mention how Green I am. Why deny it? I'm a newbie, a n00b, a wannabe, a tryhard. My first novel is published next month - by a decent-sized and perfectly respectable publisher, no less – so I'm permitted, I think, a little quiet smuggery. Fine. But I try to temper that, always, by inserting a thick vein of cynicism into conversations, and people just Don't Like It.
"Yes," I'll say, nodding politely. "I know it's exciting... but, look: there's really no guarantee the book will sell well... In fact, statistically, it'll bomb..."
Cue looks of utter disappointment and mild disgust. It's like there's some unspoken agreement amongst people of a publishing ilk – and indeed friends, family and other excited acquaintances – that One Does Not Mention the bitter reality. You simply aren't supposed to acknowledge that the odds are stacked against you, that the retailers appear to be actively discouraging new authors from bothering, and that the chances of vast financial success are slightly lower than those of Elvis showing-up in Loch Ness.
No: instead it's champagne and "oh, of COURSE it'll do well!" and “oh, you’re so humble” and “well done for keeping your feet on the ground” and rich food and blah blah blah. Naturally, secretly, everyone knows the risks; the gloomy probablities. Why, then, is it so frowned-upon to remark upon them?
The same applies to Greenness. When chatting to those same ubiquitous Industry Types I invariably find myself inserting the caveat: "Well, I'm pretty new to all this..." I find a certain comfort in it, if I'm honest, as if it's okay for me to be drunk on free champagne, breaking wine glasses, smoking in the wrong places at publishing parties and generally Not Schmoozing Right, because: "Well, I'm pretty new to all this..."
But even so, there's a look of horror. Not because of the newness itself, I think, but because of the sense of confession. I get the impression that Correct Publishing Etiquette requires everyone - everyone - to maintain the facade that they've been involved in the novel trade for centuries, have won countless literary prizes, lunched with Shakespeare, drank with Cervantes and enjoyed a brief fling with Wilde. Fessing-up to being utterly in the dark about anything and everything will, apparently, bring the whole thing crashing down.
Well not me. I'm new, and proud – to publishing, to writing crime novels, and to this here Crimespace thing. I'm probably making all sorts of ridiculous mistakes, but I'm enjoying myself immensely, am under absolutely no illusions that I'm on the verge of fame and fortune, and all I'm interested in doing is introducing you to my curious alter-ego, Michael. He's not green, he's not pessimisstic about the future, he doesn't get drunk on champagne and he doesn't smoke in the wrong places. He kills people for a living, but don't let that put you off. You can find him, or at least the links to his favourite places, here: